Corrections or additions?
This article was prepared for the April 6, 2005
issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Between the Lines
Our article on the invention of color television at the RCA
Laboratories after World War II (U.S. 1, November 14, 2002), continues
to provoke E-mail, such as this one from Ricardo Cuadra:
"Why is it, that all of you being scholars and capable of gathering
good research, don’t even mention Guillermo Gonzalez Camarena of
Mexico who obtained the first patent for colored television in the
world back in 1940.
"The first experimental television transmission in Mexico – from
Cuernavaca to Mexico City – was arranged by Francisco Javier Stavoli
in 1931. Stavoli purchased a Nipkow system from Western Television in
Chicago with funding from the ruling party, which was then called the
Mexican Revolutionary Party and became the current Institutional
Revolutionary Party. In 1934 Camarena built his own monochromatic
camera; by 1939, Camarena had developed a Trichromatic system, and in
1940 he obtained the first patent for color television in the world.
In 1942, after Lee deForest met with him in order to buy the rights,
he secured the U.S. patent under description of the Chromoscopic
Adaptors for Television Equipment."
Alex Magoun, curator of the Sarnoff Library and museum, replied.
"Thank you for responding, as I have learned about another television
pioneer. Please allow me, however, to respond in turn.
"You cite a widely repeated, unquestioned article on Sr. Camarena. I
do not doubt his talents and acknowledge the limitations on his
abilities because of the political and economic circumstances in
Mexico in that time. Sr. Camarena, however, was working on
electro-mechanical systems of color television, which is not
surprising given his training as an electromechanical engineer. The
article in U.S.1 highlighted RCA Laboratories because it invented and
demonstrated the first all-electronic color television system, one
that we still use with minimal adaptations today around the world.
"I have strong doubts about the claim made on Sr. Camarena’s behalf
that his August 19, 1940 patent was the first for color television in
the U.S. Patent Office for two reasons. First, the patent number
listed, USP no. 2,296,022, was awarded to M. Chernow on September 19,
1942 for a method of attaching monograms. You can look this up on the
US Patent and Trademark Office’s website: www.uspto.gov/patft/.
Second, Camarena’s could not have been the first for the U.S. since
AT&T certainly patented the electro-mechanical color TV system that it
demonstrated in 1929, and Vladimir Zworykin applied in 1925 for a
patent on a nearly all-electronic color system.
"Perhaps if one was willing to perform some scholarship, we would
begin to know the motivations, inspirations, and frustrations that
shaped this fine man’s career and contributions. Unfortunately,
support for the study of the history of invention and innovation is
poorly funded around the world, and we do not have the resources to
locate such a scholar or inspire them in this direction."
Alex Magoun and the David Sarnoff library will host the 50th
anniversary celebration of RCA’s Electronic Music Synthesizer on
Thursday, April 14, at 8 p.m.
A Jobseekers meeting was incorrectly listed as taking place on
Thursday, April 5. The meeting was Tuesday, April 5.
Corrections or additions?
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